The government of the United Kingdom could possibly take over the controls of Crossrail from Transport for London (TfL), its fellow joint sponsor, once a cap is not kept on the costs of the £15.4 billion project.
The report was initially revealed by the Sunday Times. It said that in the sponsor agreement of Crossrail that was signed in 2008, there is a clause that authorises the Department for Transport (DfT) to take over the said project once the costs exceed certain “intervention points.”
On the 24th of July, Jo Johnson, the rail minister, announced the project, that is also known as the Elizabeth Line, requires an additional funding amounting to £600 million, taking its total cost from the original £14.8 billion to £15.4 billion.
More than a month later, it was revealed that the line would not be opening this coming December, as what was originally scheduled. Instead, it is now scheduled to open in the autumn next year.
The Elizabeth Line is a large source of income for the cash-strapped TfL. The agency is straddling an operational deficit amounting to £1 billion and is counting on the said project to bring in an annual income of £926 million by 2022. However, if the project were to be handed over to the UK government, it would greatly affect the TfL, which will already miss out on an initial £20 million from the delay to the opening, as well as £10 million from advertising.
A TfL spokesperson stated: “Everyone involved in this project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth Line is completed as quickly as possible and brought into service for passengers. We are working closely with Crossrail Ltd and government on delivering this. Crossrail Ltd is working to establish what the additional impact on funding from the revised delivery schedule will be and discussions continue with the government on how to deliver any financing that may be required.”
A spokesperson from the DfT stated: “Crossrail Ltd and TfL are working to identify the level of additional funding that will be required to complete the project and how this will be provided.”